Making sure the healthy stuff sinks in

By Gill South

A healthy diet is pointless if nutrients are not absorbed.

A healthy diet is pointless if nutrients are not absorbed. Photo / Christchurch Star
A healthy diet is pointless if nutrients are not absorbed. Photo / Christchurch Star

I immediately like Linda Outhwaite, a clinical nutritionist from Nutrition Wise. She is a bubbly, smiley woman with a little tile sitting on her desk saying, "Chocolate is the answer." Oh yes - a woman who understands me.

A look at my tongue tells her that I am not absorbing my nutrients very well. So my healthy diet and supplements are not being absorbed. What a waste of money, my husband would say. He's getting increasingly irritated with my little farmyard of supplements taking over the baking drawer.

A small thing I can do to help absorption, says Linda, is to have a glass of water with lemon juice 20 minutes before a meal. I have no trouble doing this at breakfast but for some reason I find it harder at lunch because I'm too hungry, and the thought of waiting 20 minutes before I eat is impossible.

No problem, says Linda, I can add a dressing with vinegar to my salad or include some capers or gherkins to get the digestive juices flowing. She suggested eating more soluble fibre, such as linseed, stewed apple, rice bran, oat bran, legumes, figs and seaweed.

Prunes are good too.

Linda is another in the anti-dairy camp. She really doesn't think dairy in diet is necessary in adults but kids can get away with it. Her point is many of us lose the enzymes required to break down dairy at quite an early age.

Nor does she like processed meat such as salami and ham. Organic beef or chicken cooked yourself is fine. "Fat is where the nasties are stored," she says.

I'm looking for protein ideas. Linda says fish is fantastic and eggs are good too, but to think about less red meat with my family history of bowel cancer. LSA meal - ground linseeds, sunflower seeds, and almonds - is another good source of protein at breakfast, as is almond butter.

A protein shake might be a good idea for me, says Linda and she gives me a recipe for a mix of cold green tea, rice milk and added protein powder. Sea vegetables are highly recommended, having loads of good minerals: think seaweed. Sushi, that's more like it. But watch out for too much rice, she says.

Linda would like me to take some minerals - they are a catalyst for almost all biochemical reactions, she says. She notes the look of dismay on my face - is my marriage up to more pills? - and doesn't push it.

- NZ Herald

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